Health Benefits of Sports

You may prefer the solitude of a good run but there are social and health benefits to participating in team sports. Playing team sports can help with your social and mental wellbeing while providing a powerful way to build your fitness level and reduce stress.

Being Part of a Team Makes a Difference

Team sports such as soccer, basketball, handball, or rugby allows individuals to come together to strategise towards a common goal. In many team sports, the focus is not on the individual. The focus is instead on the collaborative effort of the group.

Lionel Messi, whom some regard as the best footballer in the world, once said: “I’m lucky to be part of a team who help me look good, and they deserve as much of the credit for my success as I do for the hard work we have all put in on the training ground.”

When you participate in group physical activities such as aerobics, Pilates, yoga and boot camp, there is added motivation for you to stay active. Being part of a team will make you think twice about hitting that snooze button as you will feel accountable to your group mates.

Related: The A-Z Guide to an Active Lifestyle

Playing in a Team Develops Our Social Skills

Exercising as a group creates opportunities for social interaction which is good for our mental health

Participating in a team sport also lets you explore the team dynamics of co-operation and interaction, and to build our communication and social skills.

For three years, Liew Huey Fen, 36, has looked forward to a game of netball on Saturday mornings, where she plays alongside people from various walks of life.

These games, organised by Netball Singapore, has allowed her to get involved in a sport that she has enjoyed since her school days. The game has turned strangers into friends, allowing her to form stronger relationships with other players that extend beyond the game.

Friendships Outside the Playing Field

Today, the teammates she met on the netball court are now friends who she regularly meets for meals and watches netball matches with.

“A team sport like netball has exposed me to diversity and helped me to communicate better. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends who are fun and interesting. I always look forward to the next training session,” said Huey Fen.

“In a team, everyone has different skill levels and the senior players will teach the junior players different techniques, allowing our skills to improve all the time. The chance to learn and improve together has built a strong sense of teamwork and forged bonds of friendship.”

In addition to a sense of community and stronger relationships, Huey Fen found that netball has also taught her to be patient and respect others for the role they play in a team, as each player is assigned a different role in a netball game. She has also learnt to identify her strengths and how this translates into the role she plays on the team.

Team Sports, Group Exercise and Mental Health

Playing sports like basketball with friends reduces our stress levels.

Exercise can do wonders for your mental health. Fun team sports and group exercise can reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body and trigger the release of brain chemicals like endorphins which will naturally lift your mood, to make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Team sports and group exercise have been proven to help improve mental health. A study found that exercising in groups might protect people against depression[1]. The Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines also explains that engaging in physical activity, particularly in a group setting, improves an individual's psychosocial health, which leads to greater productivity and better quality of life[2].

For Huey Fen, playing netball has been a helpful stress reliever. She said: “Playing netball has given me an outlet to reduce stress and it also recharges me to face fresh challenges in other areas of my life.”

Team Sports Also Develops Important Life Skills

Healthy competition and good sportsmanship are part of team sports. You will learn to think on your feet, deal with disappointment and loss and exercise your problem-solving skills. Team sports also involves some strategy which helps build cognitive efficacy.

Playing team sports is rewarding and will leave you feeling stronger physically, emotionally and mentally.

There are many sports activities at different locations all over Singapore. Find the sports and participate at an intensity level that suits you. You’ll be having fun playing sports in a team and the benefits will stay with you for the rest of your life.

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  1. Stevens, M., Lieschke, J., Cruwys, T., Cárdenas, D., Platow, M. J., & Reynolds, K. J. (2021). Better together: How group-based physical activity protects against depression. Social Science & Medicine, 286, 114337.
  2. Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines. (2022). Retrieved from